2010 Roush Mustang 427R

Roush’s 427R Mustang is an angry car. Even if you don’t touch the gas pedal, the burble of the exhaust lets you know that you’re driving a Mustang with a serious attitude. Directing the short shifter into first takes a firm, deliberate motion. Leave the 427R in first gear as you roll down the parking ramp at a steady 3000 rpm and enjoy the exhaust’s controlled ruckus as it reverberates off the concrete structure. Eager to hear the engine’s full roar, you jab the throttle while turning out of the garage. It’s just as beautiful and hateful as you imagined and – oops – the back end is swinging around to add some kick to that scream. This bad boy sure is fun to hang around with.

On the back roads, the supercharged (or ROUSHcharged, if you can say it and still take yourself seriously) V-8 feels like it’s putting out more than 435 hp. The new dampers, springs, and antiroll bars of the suspension package make the 427R ultrastiff. It is possible to find roads that render the upgrade too stiff, but for the most part, it’s a welcome change for improved handling.

Roush has done an excellent job integrating its work into Ford’s Mustang. Interior components and body modifications fit in well with the stock Mustang gear and have OEM quality. The mechanical components are refined to the point that this car feels like it rolled off a Ford assembly line. Roush even covers the car with a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty.

The problem is Ford’s own Shelby Mustang GT500. That car starts at $47,000 and will deliver 540 hp to the crankshaft through a six-speed gearbox. Roush charges some $14,000 for the 427R core components on top of the $28,000 Mustang GT price. That package includes the major body components, eighteen-inch wheels, new suspension parts, and the supercharger package. That still leaves a few options that every Roush should be equipped with, primarily the exhaust ($710), chrome short-throw shifter ($410), and brake upgrades (either $2877 or $1450). By the time you add in the cost of installation, you’re well into $50,000, and your neighbor still regularly kicks your ass with the extra 105 hp from his GT500.

Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor

Sometimes, I think I’m mentally stuck in eighth grade. First, I almost laugh aloud in a meeting just because technical editor Don Sherman uses the words “shaft” and “stroke” in the same sentence. Then, only a few hours later, I’m driving a $55,000 Mustang with the windows open so I can better hear its obscenely loud exhaust system. Yup, Roush knows how to target guys like me, or I should say, guys like me with enough money to buy a $55,000 Mustang.

This car makes no sense even before you remember, as Eric did, that it costs more than Ford’s own GT500. Roush takes what is a good buy at around $30,000 and adds more than $20,000 in window louvers, superstiff antiroll bars, and power that you can never possibly use. Don’t forget, this Corvette Z51-priced pony car still has a live rear axle. Go over a bump at speed, as I did, and you’ll spend a few seconds wondering what direction you’ll be pointed in when the rear end finds pavement again. And yet, it’s an absolute blast mitigated only by the awareness that every cop within five miles can hear your sublime exhaust note. The 4.6-liter V-8 can lay down rubber from a second-gear roll, and it emits a wonderful combination of old-fashioned rumble and supercharger whine.

It’s also worth noting that even if it’s a bit out of its league at this price, the basic Mustang package is very compelling. I noted the same quick steering and great shift-action (made all the better in this case by an optional short-throw shifter) that I’ve enjoyed in every refreshed Mustang I’ve driven.

David Zenlea, Assistant Editor

Pop, pop, pop, pop. I just can’t get enough of the 427R’s poppingly powerful exhaust back-pressure note when you let off the gas at lowish speeds. Lowish speeds were about all I could do in the Roush, unfortunately, since traffic was particularly terrible the day I drove the car, but that didn’t stop me from running through the gears whenever possible. To me, the only thing better than the 427R’s exhaust is its short-throw, orb-topped, old-school shifter.

And therein lies my rub with the 427R: it’s quite pricey (as my colleagues have noted), and some of its best features are available to any owner of a stick-shifted Mustang GT. Instead of the 427R, I’d personally rather save a Ford Focus-sized pile of cash and purchase Roush’s exhaust ($585), short-throw shifter ($185), billet shifter arm ($98), and retro knob ($33). The Roush folks even told me that the exhaust would sound comparable on the normally aspirated Mustang GT.

Still, the 427R’s Roush-ness makes the new 2010 Mustang look even more ominous, what with its requisite spoilers, scoops, louvers, and optional twenty-inch wheels. I could definitely do without the teal stripes over dark blue paint of this example, however. Speaking of the wheels, it’s worth noting that although this car wears Dunlop tires, Roush will continue its partnership with Cooper by selling customer 427Rs with Cooper shoes.

And speaking of grip, I love this car’s cool, grippy Roush pedal covers. I’m not as big a fan of the Roush gauges, though, which I find too crammed to read easily. Another cabin note: I’m getting more comfortable with the revised Mustang interior, but I still prefer the more horizontal, old-school styling of the 2005-09 editions.

There are a zillion Mustangs out there, and this Roush is a good way for affluent Mustang fans to stand out from the masses. Best of all, this one isn’t nearly as annoyingly boomy at speed as Saleen’s Dan Gurney version that we drove last fall.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

Muscle car enthusiasts love their cars loud, and the latest iteration of the 427R doesn’t fail to live up to either sense of the term. If the bright paint and side stripes patterned after the 1970 Boss 302 don’t grab your attention, the exhaust certainly will. At wide-open throttle, the 427R makes noises typically produced by P-51 Mustangs, not those built by Ford.

I do, however, wish Ford trimmed this interior. Roush’s hand-sewn leather seat covers were a nice touch back when Mustang interiors were subpar, but the premium two-tone cabin we recently sampled on a stock 2010 Mustang GT was far superior in aesthetics and functionality. The extra foam installed in the seatback reduces the height of the side bolsters–a problem when this car grips so well, as Rusty noted. I could also do without the retro-tastic louvers on the quarter windows. Why, yes, they look like those on a ’67 fastback while enlarging my blind spots.

It’s hard to justify such an expensive, testosterone-infused plaything, especially when Ford builds one that’s cheaper and is slightly tauter in the corners. Still, only 2000 examples of both the GT500 and 427R are built each year. If you’re too impatient to sit on Ford’s waiting list, it wouldn’t hurt to give Jack Roush a call.

Evan McCausland, Web Producer

If you’re looking for attention, the 2010 Roush Mustang 427R will certainly do the trick. I had the luxury of taking the car home over the extended 4th of July weekend, and the car made quite a splash wherever I went. Someone told me it is “the ultimate patriotic American muscle car.” I suppose it could be. Although not my favorite, the dark blue paint with light blue accents was also fitting given the holiday. Twenty-inch chrome five-spoke wheels with big red Roush brake calipers and slotted rotors greet your eyes as you scan the car.

But the Roush 427R doesn’t just look good sitting still, it looks good going fast, and does it ever with the supercharged V-8 pumping out 435 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The supercharger doesn’t whine like most until you get way up in the rpm, then it screams bloody murder. Shifting is quick and precise with the Roush short-throw shifter, and the NASCAR-style shift ball looks like it came straight off of Carl Edwards’s Ford Fusion. No need to look at the tachometer while driving; the intoxicating sound coming from the huge tail pipes tells you when you’re approaching the 6500-rpm redline.

Like Rusty, I didn’t like the Roush logo plastered onto the gauges. It looks like an afterthought and should have remained off; if you want a constant reminder of what you’re driving, just touch the gas pedal. It would be nice to see this car resemble more of a racecar, too; little things like a carbon fiber console, aggressively bolstered seats with five-point harnesses, or even a push-button start would be a clever touch.

Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator

On the common sense scale, tuner cars fall somewhere between homemade concoctions and factory-engineered products. Where, exactly, depends on the tuner. Jack Roush’s organization knows what it’s doing and JR’s name is gradually superseding Carroll Shelby in terms of prestige and recognition.

The 427R offers a host of upgrades over a standard Mustang GT. The exhaust rumble, acceleration, shift quickness, and exterior appearance are all delightful. The vent-mounted boost gauge is a clever touch. While I had no opportunity to enjoy limit handling, the suspension felt properly calibrated and not excessively harsh over Michigan bumps. I experience some disappointment in two areas. The seats have an attractive appearance but are deficient in lateral support, especially considering their extra cost. The brakes felt woefully out of synch with the speed and power available here; the rears are clearly too small for the job. While investing about $50K in the factory’s Shelby GT500 makes more sense than $55,218 for the Roushmobile if long-term used value is considered, I’m happy that this tuner alternative exists for those lacking the patience or expertise to roll their own special Mustang.

Don Sherman, Technical Editor

2010 Roush Mustang 427R

Base price (with destination): $33,140
Price as tested: $55,218

Roush 427R package $14,156
-Entire 4.6L powertrain system, front fascia, chin spoiler, rear valance, decklid spoiler, graphics.
Roush exhaust $710
Quarter window louvers $370
Black with Blue suede seats $1725
Vent gauge pod $435
20 inch chrome wheel and tire upgrade $1115
Locking lug nuts $60
Short throw shifter with black knob $410
Illuminated door sill plates $220
Performance front and rear brake kit $2877

Fuel economy:
15 / 23 / 19 mpg

Size: 4.6L Supercharged V-8
Horsepower: 435 hp @ 6450 rpm
Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 3750 rpm

5-speed manual

Weight: 3450 lb

20-in chrome wheels
275/35ZR20 tires

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240 @ 3500